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PANDEF, MBF slam Gumi, others over campaign of calumny against Wike

PANDEF, MBF slam Gumi, others over campaign of calumny against Wike
PANDEF, MBF slam Gumi, others over campaign of calumny against Wike (Photo: The Nation Newspaper)

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), have in separate statements condemned what they called a systematic campaign of calumny orchestrated by Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, against the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike.

PANDEF in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ken Robinson, described as irresponsible, absurd, and subversive, recent comments by Gumi on the person and office of the Minister of the FCT, Chief Nyesom Wike.

Robinson speaking on behalf of the forum said, “It is most unfortunate that at a time when every well-meaning Nigerian should be concerned about the stability, peace, and unity of the country, the likes of Sheikh Gumi are further stoking the ambers of discord, certainly, intended to exacerbate tension in the country. It’s utterly despicable that a so-called Cleric would fashion himself into a shameless promoter of parochialism and acrimony.

“We consider the call for the removal of Chief Nyesom Wike as Minister of FCT, and indeed, any other Niger Deltan, based on wild predispositions, as an indirect poke at the people of the Niger Delta region, and the South-South Geopolitical Zone, in particular, to catechize our stake in the Nigerian State.

“Perhaps, it is necessary to underscore some unadorned facts Sheikh Gumi is pretending to overlook; Abuja is the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria and not a sectional capital; more so, it (FCT) was developed and continues to be developed with, mainly, the oil and gas resources of the Niger Delta region, where Nyesom Wike comes from.

“It is commonly known that crude oil was swapped instead of payment to contractors in building the infrastructure in Abuja, including the Aso Rock Villa. At that time, no one talked of Abuja belonging to any particular ethnic group.

“In fact, from the administration of Shehu Shagari up until the General Babangida regime, the federal government encouraged all citizens, no matter where they come from, to acquire and develop property in the Federal Capital Territory, because Abuja belongs to all Nigerians.

“We recall that our youths came to Abuja in l998 for a so-called “2 Million Man March” in support of the self-succession bid of General Sani Abacha, and saw how resources from their land were being used in building bridges, roads, and amazing structures, whereas their communities, meshed in an environment ravished and degraded by oil and gas exploration activities, are deprived of such “wonders”.

The PANDEF Spokesperson further noted that the contradictions the youths saw, provoked renewed agitations in the Niger Delta leading to the “Kaiama Declaration” for Resource Control and Justice, in December 1998, and the subsequent crisis in the region.

He said, “Suffice it to state that any Nigerian; from the North, South, East, or West, could and should, be appointed to serve as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“Remarkably, Nyesom Wike is the 17th Minister of the FCT, but only the second Southerner to be appointed in 47 years, since the creation of the FCT.

“The first Southerner, and the very first Minister of the FCT, for that matter, was Mobolaji Ajose-Adeogun, who recently passed on at 96; he served as FCT Minister between 1976 and 1979, under the military regime of General Obasanjo. The other 15 past Ministers of the FCT are all persons of northern extraction. The records are there for all to see.

“Ironically, a Northerner, and one of the founding architects of this country, Musa Yar’Adua, father of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, served as the Minister of Lagos Affairs during the First Republic from 1963 until the military truncated the First Republic in 1966. Nobody complained then.

“We commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his patriotism and political will in appointing a Southerner, the former Governor of Rivers State, as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory after over four decades.

“It is needful that all patriots and true lovers of the nation, particularly of northern extraction, without equivocation, denounce the dangerous diatribes of Sheikh Gumi and those of his likes, in the national interest.”

PANDEF wondered why the Nation’s Security agencies have not arrested the thoughtless cleric for his subversive annotations and numerous “delinquencies”.

It warned Sheikh Gumi and his backers to “leave Nyesom Wike alone; and allow the Minister to do his job. This country belongs to all of us and no section is superior to the other.”

PANDEF also implored the FCT Minister not to be distracted by the divisive antics of a few while urging him to carry out his duties and responsibilities as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, judiciously, and without biases, for the benefit of all; irrespective of religion, tribe or political persuasion.

Speaking in a similar vein, the Middle Belt Forum in its statement said its attention was drawn to the trending video clip by Sheikh Gumi, a Kaduna-based Islamic Cleric noted for making a case for killer herdsmen across the country and negotiating payment of ransom for the release of kidnapped victims.

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, also on Sunday, the MBF said, “We would have ignored Gumi’s outburst, but for the following cancerous interpretations deducible from the said video clips from other clerics also rendered in Hausa:

“That it is wrong for a Christian infidel (arne) to be appointed Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“That the FCT belongs to the North therefore the Ministerial slot should be the exclusive preserve of the Muslim North.

“That Muslims should not be comfortable with non-Muslims appointed to head the security agencies as they can’t be trusted to be fair to all groups.

“It is noted that several other Muslim clerics have followed Sheik Gumi in spreading this vulgarity.

“For purposes of clarity, the Middle Belt Forum, an organisation comprising the ethnic nationalities of the Middle Belt Region that stretches across the middle section of Nigeria, wishes to categorically state that the FCT is a part of the Middle Belt.

“Also, the Middle Belt Forum serves the peoples of the Middle Belt who are multi-religious (Christian, Muslim and Traditional worshipers) living peacefully together. The FCT was originally inhabited by the Gbagyi people who were dislodged from their ancestral lands by the Nigerian State to create the Federal Capital Territory that Gumi and his gang are now laying claim to.

“Gumi’s vulgarity is not just insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians, but a further display of the despicable arrogance associated with Gumi’s Fulani stock who have used state power to capture, manipulate and enthrone themselves over Nigeria and its resources.

“We repeat that history is unequivocal that at no time were the Fulani aborigines (original inhabitants) of the FCT. This is documented and established by all verified Historical narrations.

“The list of the ethnic configuration of the FCT in all known literatures does not include the Fulani as indigenous to the FCT. Thus, the current noise by Gumi and his co-travellers is a failed attempt to stand history on its head.”

He further said, “As a Forum, we unambiguously condemn the messages contained in these trending video clips calling for the sack of Barr Nyesom Wike as the FCT Minister on account of his faith or where he hails from.

“That such calls are coming from Islamic preachers is unfortunate and reflective of a nebulous and subtle agenda aimed at enthroning a State Religion on Nigeria.

“God forbid! President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should not allow these religiously inflamed remarks by these preachers to go unprobed. Considering the roles Gumi in promoting negotiation with agents of banditry and insurgency, he should be quickly reined in to checkmate his evil and capricious activities.

“As for the issue of headship of security organisations, we all are mere survivors of the horrible results of the eight years of President Buhari when all security agencies were in the hands of Gumi’s Muslim stock.

“In the face of their grim failure whereby the entire North-west, North-east and North-central zones became war zones and havens for kidnappers and criminal elements, it amounts to shameless drunkenness for Gumi to state that only Muslims have capacity to deal fairly with all groups in the country.

“Indeed it is clear that Gumi and his band of followers are hell-bent on igniting the monster of bigotry in a nation that is already set on edge. Of course, they are not happy that the evil eight years of Muhamadu Buhari’s nepotism and religious discrimination are over.

“No country would survive religious crisis of the magnitude Gumi and his gang are trying hard to plunge this country into. His Excellency, President Tinubu must act quickly and punish elements determined to unleash ethnic and religious war on the people.

“Our Muslims brothers, especially from the North, have always resisted the conduct of a census exercise to determine the actual number of people and their various religious/tribal inclinations in the North and in the Country at large.

“The National Population Commission has been frustrated by the likes of Gumi not to conduct any credible Census because of the lucrative advantage the so-called North has in the lopsided skewed figures currently deployed in the Nigerian structure that gives them undue advantage over other parts of Nigeria.

“Inflammatory statements like that of Gumi and his type will end if the Nation conducts a credible electronic census that will automatically reatructure Nigeria.

“ It is our firm belief that a viable Census will end the tribal/religious acrimony often utilised by characters like Gumi to intimidate other Nigerians when advancing sectional ideals.

“In times like this when government is engaged in rescuing the country from the claws of insurgents and bandits, religiously divisive comments by preachers like Gumi is an attempt to throw the country into religious war.

The Forum reiterated that every Nigerian, irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliations, should enjoy the right to be appointed into public office.

It went on to add that, “Wike is eminently qualified to be appointed into his present position as the FCT Minister. He does not represent any religion or ethnic group; he represents and works for the Nigerian people.

“Those who are uncomfortable with his appointment should better wake up and smell the coffee and realise that the era when religion played the winning card is over.”

It condemned attempts by the cleric and his “co-travellers” to continue to give oxygen to religious bigotry and endanger Nigeria’s unity.

“Wike is now the FCT Minister, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Gumi should be reminded that those who call for rain must remember that they, too, shall be wet when the rain finally falls.” The Forum added.

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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Written by Percy Onyeka

A seasoned Tech/Business Analyst, Digital Media Consultant , Publisher and Entrepreneur with more than a decade experience. Online Editor in Chief-New National Star newspaper and a host of clients...

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